HYDERABAD:In a major relief to disgraced Satyam founder B Ramalinga Raju and nine others, convicted in the multi-crore accounting fraud case, a local court on Monday granted them bail and also suspended their seven-year sentence.
Special judge for economic offences court-cum-VIIIth metropolitan sessions judge court M Laxman said the execution of “substantive and default” sentence was suspended (in case of Ramalinga Raju and brother Rama Raju) and directed them to furnish a personal bond of Rs one lakh each and two sureties of like sum each. They were also directed to pay one/tenth of the fine amount within four weeks from the date of release on bail.
Raju and his accomplices were on April 9 convicted in the sensational corporate fraud case by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court and sentenced to seven years of rigorous imprisonment. Raju and his brother were also slapped with a fine of Rs 5.35 crore. Raju, who was lodged in the Cherlapally central jail, filed an appeal, as did the other convicts, in the MSJ court last week, seeking bail and challenging their conviction.
The MSJ court also suspended sentences of eight other convicts and granted them bail on a bond of Rs 50,000 each.
The court directed them to pay one/tenth of fine amount within a period of four weeks from the date of their release on bail. Raju and the other convicts were also directed to give an undertaking to cooperate for the early disposal of their appeals. Counsels of Raju and others submitted before the court that their clients had already served a “substantial part” of their imprisonment (35 months) and requested for suspension of sentences.
They also informed the court that Raju and other convicts had no source of income to pay the ‘exorbitant’ fines slapped on them by the trial court and pointed out that the CBI had frozen their bank accounts while the Enforcement Directorate had attached their properties.
CBI special public prosecutor K Surender, opposing their arguments, said the pleas for suspension of sentence and fine were nothing but seeking suspension of the judgement of the trial court - which is permissible only under special circumstances. The appeals of Raju and others are not permissible as there were no special circumstances, he argued, adding that the convicts had caused thousands of crores losses to the investors and they “have the means” to pay up the fine. The court is scheduled to hear the appeals again next month.